Equality's Struggle for Existence
Topics Socialism--United States
, Socialism--Washington state
, Brotherhood of the Cooperative Commonwealth
, Brotherhood of the Co-operative Commonwealth
, Socialist Party of America
, Social Democratic Party of America
, Social Democracy of America
, utopian socialism
, Puget Sound
, Washington history
"Equality's Struggle for Existence"
Collection folkscanomy_politics; folkscanomy; additional_collections
by G.E. Pelton
Published in Industrial Freedom [Equality, WA], whole no. 55 (May 27, 1899), pg. 2.
Rare self-critical participant's history of the Equality Colony in rural Skagit County of Northwestern Washington state. "The mainspring of all out troubles has been, as usual, the childish weakness of human nature, intensified by our poverty," Pelton declares, noting that overconcern with the job-shirking of others and difficult living conditions in contrast to the unrealistic expectations generated by Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and other idealistic writings about socialism were principle difficulties. He adds: "Not possessing the necessary stamina to endure and assist in building up the ideal, gloom, homesickness, tears, reproaches, etc., naturally follow, and then comes departure, and perhaps a statement that Equality is a 'fraud,' and they have been 'deceived.'"
Pelton characterizes the colony as an "experimental proposition" as well as a "grand school for the study of human nature." He intimates the colony experienced a high number of departures and that this had weakened the enterprise, threatening not just it but the entire socialist project since, Pelton notes, "the plea can very plausibly be raised that if we make a fizzle of colony socialism, we would do the same in an attempt to establish state socialism, and we cannot controvert that statement."
Content published in the USA before 1923, public domain.
Edited with a footnote by Tim Davenport. Published by 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, Jan. 2014.
Non-commercial reproduction permitted.